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Top-up your Tesco cart on Facebook

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Shoppers can now top-up their Tesco.com shopping carts while they’re browsing Facebook.

My Shopping Assistant is a new third-party app developed using the Tesco API. It’s designed to help plan meals and add products to the Tesco.com basket and features include a barcode scanner so shoppers can scan items in order to search for them on Tesco.com. It's also being developed for the O2 Joggler.

The new app is flagged up on Tesco’s technology guru Nick Lansley’s blog as one of what Lansley says will soon be a range of Tesco third-party apps to be “unleashed” by an “army of third-party developers.”

The business model allows developers to earn as affiliates to the Tesco site, based on the contribution their application makes to the checked-out grocery order and for introducing new customers.

Elsewhere, Tesco has taken its first steps into harnessing the power of social media discussion. It’s launched the Tesco Supports Race for Life site, building on its partnership with the Cancer Research UK women-only fundraising Race for Life event.

The site, which went officially live yesterday, offers features including a discussion forum and picture galleries for those taking part in the event to post discussions and pictures from the events. There’s advice and training support from marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, who is also Tesco ambassador for the event, as well as a guide to foot massage and a Twitter feed.

Our view: If Tesco’s third-party apps have anything like the success of Apple’s, there’ll soon be a host of ways that we can buy digitally from Tesco. It certainly cuts down on the costs of development for Tesco, since as affiliates, the developers will earn their rewards depending on the contribution the sale makes to a final check-out and for introducing new shoppers.

This is something that’s worked for Apple, though it’s had to keep close tabs on approving the format of the programmes that appear on its Apps Store. So could it just represent too much input for most retailers to follow this model – or is it one that will take off elsewhere?

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